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Does it matter if you listen your headphones with switch L/R channel?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by vincik, Feb 11, 2014.
  1. vincik
    Im just asking cause my earcups on ath es700 can swivel in just one direction. When i dont listen them i got them around neck...problem is....i dont want to wear them with shiny cups on bottom cause i could sratch them with my jacket.... soooo a big problem :)...it would be ok,  if i reverse them but then i would have swapped channels... so... whats the whole thing with marking headphones, so we can recognize which side plays what stereo channel? Does it matter at all which way i will put them on? My ears tells me there is no difference but i better ask
  2. higbvuyb
    Left and right will be swapped. In music it won't matter much, if the drums were on the left, they'll now be on the right

    If you watch a movie the guys on the left will sound like they're talking from the right so it can get confusing.

    If you then reverse the channels there will be no difference as far as the two drivers are matched.
  3. squallkiercosa
    No difference whatsoever: You can wear them the way you want, but it's a bit annoying watching films or listen some music styles with inverted channels. I had a similar situation wearing my pxc250ii. Maybe there are audio softwares that allow switching channels.
  4. mcandmar
    Play some music you know, after a few seconds it will become unbearable to listen to. It may not be immediately obvious what the problem is, but you will feel uncomfortable and know something isn't right.
    DivaFonda and pibroch like this.
  5. mikeaj
    You can just reverse them back in software.
    Or get or make an adapter that reverses the channels (two plugs and then have ground to ground, L to R, and R to L).
  6. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    It depends on what you're listening to. If you're listening to something with two guitars, a vocalist and a back up choir, a piano and maybe a symphony, and for the most part a properly recorded drum set, they'll be reversed but still don't sound quite right in the sense that positional cues on speakers rely on the playback being wired properly. For headphones, you might not hear both channels in each ear with different path-lengths* to achieve a soundstage like speakers, but then depending on the headphone, it might not fit right - like the angle of the cups on the HD600/650/580 and the earpads on the K701/702/Q701/K712,** andn these can still affect soundstage.
    If for example what you're listening is for the most part some drums, lots of vocals about bitchez and hos, and a bass synthesizer making a hit of a bass drum followed by a creeping 40hz bass note for shattering windows, there won't be much Left-Right information for soundstage and so you won't notice reversed headphones as much.
    * With speakers, left ear still hears right speakers but it's coming from the right side, and vice versa, so the amount of sound of each note in each channel simulates a positional cue on where the instrument is relative to the others; this is still true in headphones. You might not hear the left channel with the right ear and vice versa, but the amount of sound of that single note in each side can affect. For example, you record a piano, and strike a high note key. This is closer to the right channel microphone, so most of it will sound to the right. Go a scale down/lower, and the next note while still closer to the right microphone, is also closer to the left microphone, and will be recorded accordingly, and so when you play back striking just these two keys, you can notice - with headphones or speakers - that the latter note can be slightly off to the left more.
    **rear side/behind the ear is thicker; proper wearing of the HD6xx cans also results in a similar wear pattern on the earpads, although it is not the same as the AKG pads being thicker on one side by design
  7. PleasantSounds
    I'm not sure what the es700 are like, but some headphones have the drivers mounted at an angle (HD800 and T5p come to mind) - in that case wearing them reversed would impair the sound quality.
    Another aspect is listening to surround sound recordings. I don't have much experience here, but would imagine that whatever sound was projected to be in front of you, with the reversed channels will be behind. This however could be corrected with channel swapping as discussed above.
    ev13wt likes this.
  8. bigshot
    It makes a big difference if you listen to classical music. The violins will be on the wrong side.
  9. Claritas
    It might matter if you have a channel imbalance, but that would be a problem either way you wear them. 
    Except on mono records. [​IMG]
  10. 2leftears
    Well, you could hang them around your throat instead of your neck, that would solve your problem.  Then the sound would be fine, but your image might suffer though...
  11. BrownBear
    Ultimately, it doesn't matter how you wear your headphones. I think the biggest problem you'll come across is that obviously like everyone said, the channels will be switched so things in the left will now sound in the right. If this doesn't bother you, then there's no issues whatsoever.
  12. larry piencenaves

    i might be late here but may i know what type of adapter to buy that reverses the channels?
  13. bigshot
    It matters with classical music. The violins are supposed to be on the left.

    Ha! I doubled myself on a necro thread!
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
  14. DivaFonda
    I don't know if anyone still visits this thread but here's something interesting. When I first tried on my Elears, I didn't realize they were backwards and they sounded great right out of the box. Put on correctly, things changed and I started hearing flaws and characteristics in the music I was listening to. I turned into an analytical listener because of this, instead of just enjoying the music. But I prefer to listen "correctly" because that's what the manufacturer intended. On some headphones though, opposite channels really sound bad. So bad, you can tell they're on the wrong ear.
  15. bigshot
    Most people have different qualities of hearing in the left and right ear. There are also blind spots in hearing, just like in vision. Maybe the output of the two channels is identical, but your hearing is a little different.

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